Further your understanding of each destination you visit on an authentic adventure which seeks to uncover the hidden gems. Each of our itineraries features extra-special EmeraldPLUS experiences.

The EmeraldPLUS experience takes you to the heart of local culture, helping you enjoy authentic customs and traditions while learning what day-to-day life is like for local people. These enriching events seek to avoid typical tourist hotspots, so you can be sure that your experience goes beyond that of the ordinary traveller. 

EmeraldPLUS is about seeking out rare insights and memorable experiences, venturing from the ordinary tourist trail to discover hidden gems you may not have discovered without the guidance of a local expert. We believe it’s these special touches that make a river cruise with Emerald Waterways truly unforgettable, offering moments of joy, wonder and discovery that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

To help inspire a little wanderlust, we’ve handpicked our favourite EmeraldPLUS experiences on each of the European rivers we navigate.

EmeraldPLUS on the Danube

Dissecting an array of amazing capital cities, there’s a delightful selection of cultural experiences to be enjoyed on the Danube.
Visit a local Slovakian family
slovakina family

In Bratislava, EmeraldPLUS invites you to the home of a local family, where you’ll enjoy home-hosted afternoon tea and hear wonderful stories about the traditions and folklore of the region. This intimate encounter is your chance to discover more about life in the Slovakian capital, hearing first-hand how the Danube has helped shape the unique culture and way of life on the fringes of Eastern Europe.

Experience this memorable EmeraldPLUS event on our Splendours of Europe river cruise.

Enjoy the sounds of a traditional Bavarian band
Emerald Waterways on board Bavarian Band
Bringing the culture to you, we invite a traditional Bavarian Band on-board to entertain you with their classic oompah sounds. A unique, wonderful experience, the band will perform traditional Bavarian music in authentic dress – something that will live on with you long after the river cruise has ended.
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EmeraldPLUS on the Moselle

The Moselle offers a unique opportunity to delve into the enigmatic heritage of the continent.
Sample the wine heritage of Bernkastel
Bernkastel, Germany
In Germany’s winegrowing heartland, the pretty village of Bernkastel offers half-timber houses and a rich history. It’s here you can sample the famed Moselle Valley wines amidst the beautiful vine-covered slopes as part of an EmeraldPLUS experience. The region produces a range of different wines, most famously the Riesling whites.

This EmeraldPLUS experience is available on our Legends of the Moselle, Rhine and Main river cruise.
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EmeraldPLUS on the Rhine

Explore the floral legacy of the Netherlands or the grand traditions of Germany on the Rhine.
Experience a tapestry of colour at the Keukenhof Gardens
The world’s largest floral showcase is yours to discover during an unforgettable EmeraldPLUS experience in the celebrated Keukenhof Gardens of the Netherlands. Home to a staggering collection of seasonal tulips, beautifully curated over a 32-hectare site, Keukenhof is paradise found for gardening enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Your visit includes a guided introduction to the gardens as well as free-time to explore the beds at your leisure – for a day which promises to be the most colourful and enchanting of your journey.

Enjoy an EmeraldPLUS visit to Keukenhof Gardens with our Jewels of the Rhine River Cruise.
Fall in love with Strasbourg on a canal boat tour
Strasbourg, France

Marvel at the ancient wonders of Strasbourg, capital of France’s age-old Alsace region, during a tour of its traditional canal network, whose waterways criss-cross from Petitè France to the Tanners’ Quarter. On-board a purpose-built ‘Batorama’, marvel at highlights including Vauban Dam and the Covered Bridges, as well as the illustrious sights of the Neustadt Imperial Quarter. Beautifully preserved timber-framed buildings line the banks of the canals, hinting at the city’s rich medieval heritage, while the lavish civic buildings of the European Parliament are a triumph in French Empire-style architecture. A wonderful introduction to one of northern France’s most beautiful cities.

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EmeraldPLUS on the Rhône

From the culinary capital of Europe, Lyon, to the balmy climes of the Mediterranean Coast, the Rhône explores a truly beautiful stretch of France
Regional wine tasting in Tournon
Emerald Waterways on board food and drink
The South of France has winemaking pedigree that is hard to match, anywhere in the world. As your Star-Ship journeys through Tournon, you’ll be given chance to sample some of the region’s best-loved and most celebrated wines. Hosted on-board the ship, with the stunning backdrop of southern France passing you by, you’re free to try these delightful vintages.

Enjoy this EmeraldPLUS experience as part of our Sensations of Lyon & Provence river cruise.
Provencal dinners hosted by renowned local chef
dinner in france with a respected chef

As well as a rich winemaking heritage, Provence is also home to some of the world’s favourite dishes and most respected chefs. During our river cruises through this amazing part of the world – a popular local chef will join you on-board and host an amazing dinner filled with delicacies and Provencal favourites.

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EmeraldPLUS on the Douro

EmeraldPLUS gives you the chance to sample the slow-paced lifestyle of Portugal on the waters and banks of the Douro Valley
Savour a rural Portuguese dinner at Quinta da Pacheta
Savour a Rural Portuguese Dinner at Quinta da Pacheta
After a day spent amid the spectacular Coa Valley of northern Portugal, it’s time for a special rural dinner at Quinta da Pacheca, one of the most celebrated ‘wine houses’ of the Douro Valley. The lands of the Douro are scattered with these charming homesteads, where port wine has been traditionally produced by generations of Portuguese farmers and producers. Your evening begins with a tasting of the Douro’s iconic wines and ports, before a feast of freshly-prepared Portuguese fare offers a colourful and authentic taste of the region and its proud culinary traditions.

Savour this EmeraldPLUS experience on our Secrets of the Douro river cruise.

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EmeraldPLUS on the Mekong

Cyclo ride through Dai Noi, boat tour to Thien Mu Pagoda and a royal dinner

Immerse yourself in Southeast Asian culture by taking a cyclo ride (bicycle-style rickshaw) from Dai Noi “Old City” to Tinh Tam Lake, considered to be among the most beautiful parts of the region and the inspiration for ancient emperors.

Later, journey down the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda, the iconic seven-storey historic temple and symbol of the city of Hue, Vietnam. Your evening is crowned with an unforgettable traditional royal dinner where you’ll sample local flavours fit for an emperor.

Enjoy this fascinating Vietnamese excursion on our 21-day Grand Tour of Vietnam & Cambodia.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Traditional Buddhist Monk blessing and ox cart ride

Your day begins with an ox cart ride before visiting the Oudong Temples north of Phnom Penh. Once the capital of Cambodia, the area is a place of pilgrimage for Cambodians, and you’ll receive the rare privilege of a traditional Buddhist Blessing from the resident Monks.

Take part in this EmeraldPLUS activity on all three of our insightful Southeast Asia itineraries.